"After years of continuous eating,'A Girl has to Eat', a self-confessed food lover and eat-aholic, has been spurred on to create her own food guide & blog. Read about her fabulous (and sometimes not so fabulous) culinary adventures in her restaurant reviews. This and more!"

Yashin Ocean

Posted on Thursday, 16th October 2014

Yashin Ocean House, a modern Japanese restaurant located on Old Brompton Road, brings to London a head-to-tail type of dining similar to St John’s. Only here at Yashin Ocean the focus is seafood rather than meat. It’s a refreshing concept and beautifully done by chefs Yasuhiro Mineno, ex-head chef at Ubon by Nobu, Shinya Ikeda, ex-head chef at Yumi restaurant in London and Daniele Codini, a former chef de partie at The Fat Duck. The trio have conceived an inventive modern Japanese menu that not only brings head-to-tail ingredients of the sea world into the forefront, but combines it with glorious Western produce such as truffles and foie gras as well. The result is a lovely harmony of Eastern flavours with Western touches.

Dining at Yashin Ocean House was a pretty faultless experience with our first dish of unagi eel and summer truffle (£12) being particularly mesmerising. The eel was gorgeous and the truffle was fragrant and really enjoyable with the eel. Also delectable was the delicately smoked salmon caviar (£11.80) with a light soy dressing and a shaving of truffle.

Yashin Ocean - Unagi eel with truffle

Unagi eel with truffle

Yashin Ocean – Salmon caviar with truffle

Salmon caviar with truffle

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Cucina Asellina

Posted on Monday, 13th October 2014

Cucina Asellina

Cucina Asellina

Cucina Asellina is a modern Italian restaurant located in the five-star luxury Me Hotel on Aldwych. The décor is stylish with a contemporary feel, and as you first enter the restaurant you are greeted with a slinky looking bar. The cocktails were good and we could have happily drunk our way through a few of the tempting listings on the bar menu. The dining area itself is spaciously laid out and the perfectly pitched lighting serves the restaurant well, setting the tone for a sophisticated night out. Cucina Asellina is a stylish operation and is also well located for all of the theatre attractions of the West End.

As standard with most Italian restaurants, Cucina Asellina offers a variety of antipastas, pastas, pizzas and secondis. The menu makes for an attractive read and could easily tempt the diner into over ordering. And over order we did. An antipasta dish of frittura mista with calamari, whitebait and prawns (£12.50) – a personal favourite – was really tasty and came with a moreish and very crunchy batter. A courgette flower with mozzarella and anchovies (£6.75) was also appetising with its melted gooey filling, although the courgette itself was a little undercooked. Seared swordfish with shaved fennel, olive, Sicilian citrus and orange dressing (£11) was wonderful with the fresh fish pairing well alongside the citrus elements that provided a balanced and contrasting acidity.

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Wines To Serve At Different Dinner Occasions

Posted on Sunday, 12th October 2014

So you’re hosting a dinner party for a few friends. You’ve sent your invites out, confirmed the menu with everyone’s dietary requirements, sorted the playlist and cleaned the house from top to bottom. That’s everything right? Yes. But wait…what drinks are you going to provide?

Choosing the right wine, to serve at the right time, can really help add to the atmosphere and make a really good evening, become great. If you’re like me though and sometimes struggle to tell your Sauvignon Blancs from your Chardonnays then never fear as we have teamed up with Hard To Find Wines who have helped put together this handy little guide of what to serve and when.

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Barnyard

Posted on Monday, 6th October 2014

Barnyard London is the latest project from Oskar Kinberg and Ollie Dabbous, the duo behind the one Michelin starred restaurant Dabbous. Kinberg and Dabbous both came from esteemed backgrounds. The former was previously the bar manager at The Cuckoo Club, and the latter a chef at the Michelin starred and much celebrated Texture. Together they conceived a concept that set the London dining scene on fire. When Dabbous opened in 2012 it was one of the hottest openings of the year. It received rave reviews with critics like Fay Maschler giving it 5 stars and calling it a game changer. With that, a destination restaurant was born.

At Dabbous the focus is on innovation and invention, but with Barnyard, the approach the duo has adopted is much more simplistic with an emphasis on wholesomeness. The Barnyard menu features items such as homemade sausage rolls and roast beef on toast. As the name suggests, there is a touch of the country in the restaurant’s set up, with the interior featuring reclaimed timber and corrugated tin.

We tried the homemade sausage roll (£6) which was meaty and nicely seasoned although it would have been more enjoyable had it been served hot rather than lukewarm. The pastry was light and crispy, and came with a tangy, mustardy piccalilli that worked really well with the meatiness of the roll.

Barnyard - Sausage roll

Sausage roll

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Gillray’s

Posted on Monday, 29th September 2014

Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar offers an oasis of calm from the hordes of crowds hovering around the aquarium and The London Eye. The restaurant is part of the Five Star London Marriot Hotel County Hall and is located on the South Bank. With its wonderful location, it offers spectacular views over the River Thames, Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament.

The building in which the hotel is housed was once the home of the Greater London Council. The building is resplendent and still holds onto the glamour of a historical city building. Gillray’s décor is classically English and is in keeping with the look of a County Hall building.

There’s a cosy bar at Gillray’s where afternoon tea can be taken. The views from here are really good as well and there’s also a plentiful array of beverages including some eclectic cocktails such as Gillray’s molecular take on a pina colada (£13). Fresh pineapple is caramelised in a flame of Navy Rum and then shaken with Flor de Caña and pineapple juice before being finished off with a coconut foam and a chocolate twist. The Gilray’s pina colada was amazing, with a light refreshing taste and none of the heaviness of the more traditional pina colada recipes.

Gillray's - Amazing pina colada cocktail

Amazing pina colada cocktail

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One Canada Square

Posted on Thursday, 25th September 2014

One Canada Square Restaurant and Bar is located in the north-eastern corner of the lobby of the iconic One Canada Square building, once the tallest building in the UK. The restaurant boasts an art deco inspired décor featuring two sweeping staircases, luxury leather furnishings and marble fittings that create a lavish corporate ambiance. The restaurant is split over the ground and mezzanine floors and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as bottomless Saturday brunches. The menu is Modern European, but for those not looking for a full meal, the bar area offers a bar menu as well as a diverse range of cocktails.

At first glance One Canada Square looks very corporate. However, as the restaurant area on the ground floor is neatly nestled behind the cocktail bar, helping to create a sense of intimacy. On Fridays and Saturdays the restaurant’s in-house pianist belts out some wonderful pop songs and old classics. We visited on a Friday night and the music was great, setting the tone for a lovely relaxed evening.

We started with some wild venison carpaccio which was delicious (£9). The meat was tender with some crispy fried slivers of artichoke providing a lovely crunchiness to the dish. There were also some touches of rosemary and a dash of truffle oil that created an aromatic finish.

One Canada Square - Venison carpaccio

Venison carpaccio

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The White Hart – Harting

Posted on Monday, 22nd September 2014

On a recent weekend trip to West Sussex we stopped off for a meal at The White Hart, a charming country pub in the cozy village of Harting. The White Hart represents the essence of a quintessential English pub. It was full of warmth and character with a lovely spacious beer garden. It was sunny when we went and we got the chance to enjoy a drink outside before our meal. The White Hart is located near the A3 and is within driving distance to Uppark, a National Trust property where H.G. Wells spent time when he was a young man.

The White Hart

The White Hart

We tried several starters and our favourite was the delicious chilled tomato gazpacho with peppers and basil (£5.50). It was beautifully creamy and sweet from the freshness of the tomatoes and with just the right level of consistency. The use of peppers added a pert contrast, and some fragrant basil created a lovely perfume over the dish.

The White Hart - Gazpacho

Gazpacho

Pan seared scallops with mussel fritters and curry (£9.50) was also tasty. The scallops were plump and juicy and nicely cooked if a little salty. The curry sauce was decent but a little overpowering against the delicate scallops. There was also some mango in the dish that provided a pleasant counterpoint with its sweetness and the mussels were lovely and crispy.

The White Hart - Scallops

Scallops

A piece of seared foie gras (£8.50) was also enjoyable, being nicely cooked and firm in texture. A fried duck egg with a rich runny yolk accompanied the foie gras and was perched on top of a slice of light and airy brioche.

The White Hart - Foie gras

Foie gras

To the mains, and a lamb rump was full of flavour and very tender. Accompaniments included a delicious smoked aubergine puree and some goat’s curd that added a delightful touch to the dish since the heat of the meat gently melted the curd, thereby creating a creamy effect. There was also a side of Mediterranean vegetables which were well cooked but were a touch over seasoned.

The White Hart - Rump of lamb

Rump of lamb

A 10oz Rib eye steak (£24.95) was tasty but a little chewy in parts. Alongside the steak was some sautéed spinach, hand cut chips, shallot rings and a wonderfully smooth and smoky onion puree. The hand cut chips were excellent with a crunchy exterior and a soft centre.

The White Hart - Rib eye steak

Rib eye steak

The White Hart - Hand cut chips

Hand cut chips

The desserts were also really enjoyable. A raspberry soufflé was a little lopsided but it was otherwise well made with a delightful airy texture. It was a little sweet however but this was tempered by the accompanying rose ice cream which was yummy and aromatic and which worked wonderfully with the soufflé. Scoops of baileys and honey and lavender ice cream (£1.50 per scoop) were appetising.

The White Hart - Raspberry soufflé

Raspberry soufflé

We really enjoyed our visit to The White Hart. The seasoning needed some tweaking in parts, but otherwise the menu was well thought out and the cooking showed some off some solid skills. The service was friendly and welcoming but needed to be more attentive in parts. That said we really enjoyed dining at The White Hart. The cooking was solid and smartly executed, and the cozy country setting makes The White Hart a charming find.

Summary Information:

Food rating: 3.75/5
Service rating: 3/5

Prices: £24 to £43 for three courses, excludes drinks and service.

Website: http://www.the-white-hart.co.uk/

Things I like to cook at home

Posted on Thursday, 18th September 2014

Because I eat out so much during the week, I like to keep things simple when I’m at home. For dinner I usually stick to some nicely seasoned salmon, gilled over my Argos cooker so that the skin is super crispy and the flesh is moist and still pink. I’ll serve this with some fresh crispy salad, lightly dressed with some olive oil and balsamic. Or if I feel like something with a bit more punch, I might go for one of my favourite dressings which is made with honey, wholegrain mustard, garlic, parsley, and of course some good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

When I’m craving a bit of meat I often like to make rustic wholesome dishes like beef and pork meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. I add lots of herbs to the meatballs which I brown in a saucepan before cooking them off in a thick reduction of tomato sauce. I then serve this with a zucchini pasta rather than wheat pasta which is so simple to make!

Meatballs

Meatballs

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